This article is part 2 of 2 in our series, “Why an Efficient Fulfillment Process Starts with WMS Software”. Read the first part here.
Missed Part 1? Check it out now to explore common obstacles to efficient warehouse management.
So manual systems or inventory management software simply won’t cut it for efficient warehouse management. The good thing is, there’s a great solution already at your fingertips: WMS software.
Particularly for businesses that already have inventory and order management softwares, WMS software is a natural extension to those systems that helps ensure your warehouses are run just as efficiently as the rest of the business — the benefits of WMS simply speak for themselves.
Level 3: Obtain Peak Efficiency with WMS Software
Level 3 in the hierarchy of fulfillment efficiency is warehouse management system software.
WMS software standardizes the entire chain of events from order received to order dispatched. It operates as the nervous system for your warehouse, organizing and managing your stock, optimizing your fulfillment process and creating order out of chaos. As a result, warehouse management software solves for fulfillment, drives operational efficiency and improves warehouse management across the board.
Top-tier warehouse management software works like this: it integrates with your other systems (order and inventory management), manages how orders are sent for fulfillment, stores all order details, automates the printing of shipping labels and checks the selected inventory to ensure an accurate pick. To ensure communication, warehouse workers carry a handheld device that’s connected to the system, as well as a barcode scanner that communicates scanned items back to the software. This provides data that’s updated to the minute, and it also reduces reliance on printing.
WMS software is a dedicated tool designed to solve all the operational issues created by manual or slapstick solutions.
Organizational Transparency & Insights
With its clear-cut systems and overview of the entire warehouse, software standardizes the entire fulfillment process from start to finish. Everyone involved — workers, managers, even those involved in order management — can have a clear understanding of the different stages required for fulfillment to succeed.
Clear tracking of every order, every piece of inventory, its location, its destination and even where workers are at a given time delivers an unprecedented level of insight into the warehouse’s operations. This is a dramatic contrast to paper-based systems, where transparency into existing processes is nonexistent. You’ll be able to identify areas that slow down fulfillment and ensure that all parts of your warehouse are speaking to one another.
This level of insight also enables WMS software to optimize existing systems. For instance, if new orders come in for inventory, those orders can be sent to a worker that’s already at that shelving unit. Because the software knows where all inventory is, orders can be sorted by the proximity of inventory so that workers don’t have to backtrack or wander across the whole warehouse. It can even run wave picks, organizing how and when workers do picks to ensure an efficient flow of traffic.
The other side to that coin is error reduction. Transparency, combined with the extra checks baked into the software, ensure that human error is at a minimum. For instance, theft or mispicks are nearly impossible when each piece of inventory is scanned and automatically checked against an order. Duplicate orders and miships are a thing of the past, because the software maintains oversight of all orders and isn’t prone to errors like printing the same pick list twice. That results in enormous savings: the software pays for itself quickly simply with the reduction of costly errors, let alone efficiency improvements.
Improved Warehouse Management
Because it’s a specialized tool, WMS software also enables numerous warehouse-specific workflows designed to improve efficiency.
Advanced fulfillment capabilities genuinely elevate the way your warehouse works. You can orchestrate every type of advanced pick, pack and ship system you need and react to each order in real time, instead of fulfilling orders one by one in a scattered order. That includes picks that simply aren’t possible without software, such as wave, bulk or time picks.
Integrations & Automation
WMS software works hand-in-hand with your existing systems, from sales to order management to inventory to invoicing. Top WMS software can integrate seamlessly to ensure a steady flow of communication across all your operations. This creates a system with immense interconnectivity, and all of it is accessible from each worker’s device.
At the same time, the software automates many of those integrated processes and eliminates manual work. There’s no need for someone to categorize orders or push updates to workers: WMS software takes care of that for you. It can even print shipping labels directly from the app, so that pick, pack and ship becomes one smooth process for fulfillment.
In other words: if you have a warehouse, you need WMS software.
WMS software comes with a myriad of benefits, and the right software will:
1. Improve transparency into the fulfillment process (who’s doing what, where, when and why)
2. Ensure organization as you scale
3. Generate data insights and recommendations to improve efficiency
4. Enable advanced management and fulfillment
5. Automate and eliminate time-consuming manual processes
6. Integrate with your existing systems
7. Solve for the majority of costly human error
By creating operational efficiency and enabling you to implement advanced warehouse management, WMS software ultimately saves you time and money. You can leverage a tool that is specialized for the intricacies of warehouses — and the crucial role they play in your product lifecycle.
Want to learn more about the integrations and features you should look for in WMS software? Check out the power of DEAR’s WMS software in this article.